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Sports

Kayoed by Jamaican in 6th round: Donaire goes down fighting

Abac Cordero - The Philippine Star

CARSON, California – Nonito Donaire Jr. faced an opponent that was too good and too strong for him, and got knocked out with one second left in the sixth round Saturday evening at the StubHub Center here.

Nicholas Walters, the knockout artist from Jamaica, landed a short overhand right just above Donaire’s ear to end the fight and hail himself as the WBA’s lone featherweight champion.

Donaire missed with his killer punch, the left hook, and just for an extra second left himself open for the knockout punch. After taking the blow, the Filipino fell forward.

As referee Raul Caiz Jr. started to count, Donaire, bleeding from both eyes, lay on the floor. Slowly, he managed to get up but wobbled on his feet. The referee did the right thing. He stopped the fight.

Donaire, who also went down in the third round, was knocked out for the first time in his career.

Walters celebrated in his corner while Donaire, his face beat up, sat on a stool. His father and trainer, Nonito Sr., pressed cotton balls on the cuts then kissed his son on the cheek and the top of his head.

It was a poignant moment inside the ring.

Donaire, a true sportsman, didn’t take anything away from the 28-year-old Jamaican who raised his record to an incredible 25-0 with 21 knockouts.

“I can’t compete with a guy like Walters, with his size and power and overwhelming aura in the ring. He came out as tough as I thought he would be,” said Donaire, who fell to 33-3.

“He was just amazing and knocked the shit out of me. He’s an amazing guy.  I was at my best. I never trained this hard.  He beat the shit out of me.”

Max Kellerman, the HBO ring analyst, asked if Donaire had anything more to say to Walters.

“You are amazing,” said the gracious Filipino.

Days ago, Walters said he’d knock Donaire out in five or six rounds. Before 9,323 fans and the chilly weather, he proved to be as good in making predictions as in scoring knockouts.

Inside the ring, after the fight, the 28-year-old Walters also gave credit to Donaire.

“Donaire is a super, super boxer and a great champion. I put a lot into this training for this fight.  He has power and speed and I enjoyed the fight very much,” he said.

Walters caught Donaire with a right uppercut in the closing seconds of the third round, and for the first time in his career, he was down.

The four-division world champion started to bleed from the right eye in the third round and by the fifth round he was cut on both eyes. Walters smelled blood.

When the end came, two judges had Walters ahead, 48-46, and the other one, 49-45. Two judges had Donaire winning the first two rounds.

Donaire rocked Walters with a left hook in the closing seconds of the second round but couldn’t finish him off.

Donaire chased Walters with another punch but the bell had already sounded. The Jamaican felt the punch. As he turned around, he didn’t know where his corner was.

Early in the third round, Pinoy fans that helped pack the open-air venue chanted, “No-ni-to! No-ni-to!”

“I got a little bit confident and thinking that I am going to overpower him and he caught me good and boom,” Walters admitted.

“But I recuperated from just walking over to the corner.  He has good power but I recuperated. I knew I had a job to do,” added the featherweight champion.

When ring announcer Michael Buffer announced the official time of the knockout, at 2:59 of the sixth round, it brought back memories of Manny Pacquiao’s horrific loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012.

Looking at the replay on the wide screen, Walters said the knockout punch came on purpose.

“You know what, if you take a look at it, it was like fishing. If you give him the bait and he comes in and takes it,” said Walters.

He had good words for the fallen Filipino champ, and even invited him to his future camps, if he needed to train with someone as fast, as good as Donaire.

“I would like Nonito to come into my camp and help me some time. He is a great fighter,” said Walters.

Walters had good parting words for Donaire.

“You are one of my favorite fighters,” said the Jamaican.

Yes, it was a great fight from two great champions.

BUT I DONAIRE GOOD JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ MAX KELLERMAN MICHAEL BUFFER NICHOLAS WALTERS ROUND WALTERS
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